A year ago, Stonecoast Faculty member Alexs Pate founded Innocent Technologies LLC to develop and deliver a new teacher training process called the Innocent Classroom which helps to bridge the achievement gap between white students and students of color.
After a year of implementation in Omaha, NE, and in partnership with the Minnesota Humanities Center, the program has seen early success. Says one teacher of the program, "Attending Innocent Classroom sessions has opened my eyes to many things. I’ve learned that I can be the change in a child’s life that they are looking for. I can be the positivity that they need to grow and learn. I can be the one who loves them unconditionally and my classroom can be their safe place." Students are also benefitting from the program. As told to a teacher one student says, "I just feel like coming to this school, and working with you guys, and getting to do things like this have made me a kid again."
The program's curriculum is based on an approach facilitated by Pate and conceived from Aristotle's philosophy of goodness, "the thing for which all other things are done.” Pate's program constructs an Innocent Classroom through six stages: Understanding, Recognizing, Valuing, Engaging, Nurturing, and Protecting and Advocating. This environment then allows teachers to recognize what Pate calls the child's "unique and innate innocence."
"Without (innocence)," Pate says on the program's website, "guilt is (a child's) only reality. What I call guilt is the consequence of the negative stereotypes that have come to generally define young people of color; especially black children."
For more information about the Innocent Classroom visit http://innocentclassroom.com/.